When St. Patrick and his followers brought the gospel to Ireland in the fifth century, they instituted a very different approach, and thus furthered a philosophy about how to “do church” that was quite different than other missions of the day. Consequently they were extremely successful in introducing literally thousands of people to Christ.
What was it about their philosophy that was so unique? Volumes and volumes have been written about the way the Celts practiced their faith. A quick “Google” on Celtic Christianity will bring up over 32,000 sites. But a brief and concise synopsis about the basic aspects that we feel are applicable to today’s culture is as follows:
- A Rich and Vibrant Worship Tradition Utilizing Music, Drama, Dance, and the Arts as Expressions of Worship
- A Commitment to the Church as a Community of Faith
- The Acceptance of All People into the Community. A “Come as You Are”, Welcoming Attitude
- The Affirmation of Both Men and Women in Ministry, in Both Clergy and Laity
- The Devotion to Committed Discipleship
- Is Committed to Mission not Merely Maintenance
- Sees the Sacred in the Everyday. Seeks and Expects to Find the Mystery and the Presence of God in All Things
- Engages Critically with the Contemporary Culture
- A Passion About Peace and Justice
- A Conviction About the Goodness of Creation and Our Stewardship of the Earth
Clearly there were many elements of early Celtic Christian culture that are best suited for that particular time and culture. And yet there are many more things about the early Celtic Church that inspire us and assist us in our 21st century spiritual journeys. Through an understanding of the ways of the early Celtic Church, we hope to bring the wonders of his ancient faith to the needs of our post-modern culture.